Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The Chinese naval legend / Defeat in Afghanistan / Barbecue’s plan for war in Haiti / Romance and single motherhood / Icebergs that trigger tsunamis

This week: The Chinese naval legend / Defeat in Afghanistan / Barbecue’s plan for war in Haiti / Romance and single motherhood / Icebergs that trigger tsunamis

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. The legendary Chinese seafarer the West overlooks
By Alissa Greenberg | NOVA | August 2021
“In the 1400s, Zheng He sailed thousands of miles around Asia and Africa in ships the size of soccer fields, spreading Chinese innovations like compasses and gunpowder in the process.”

2. The Incoherence of American History
By Osita Nwanevu | The New Republic | August 2021
“We ascribe too much meaning to the early years of the republic.”

3. Why it takes months to subdue some wildfires
By Keith Ridler | Associated Press | August 2021
Why so long? Have wildfires changed? Is wildfire suppression in the past playing a role now?

4. The U.S. reckons with defeat in Afghanistan
By Ishaan Tharoor | The Washington Post | August 2021
Many of the same doyens of the Washington establishment who are now outraged that the Taliban is back in power have been less vocal about the failures and shortcomings of the two decades spent keeping the militants at bay ”

5. Why You Need to Protect Your Sense of Wonder — Especially Now
By David P. Fessell and Karen Reivich | Harvard Business Review | August 2021
“As the pandemic era goes on, more than ever we need ways to refresh our energies, calm our anxieties, and nurse our well-being. The cultivation of experiences of awe can bring these benefits and has been attracting increased attention due to more rigorous research.”

6. His Name Is Barbecue — and He’s Ready to Plunge Haiti Into War
By Jonathan Alpeyrie | The Daily Beast | August 2021
“Already devastated by an earthquake and rampant corruption, the people of Haiti have another problem to worry about: the rise of powerful gang bosses like Barbecue.”

7. Swiping right in the fertility doctor’s office: On pursuing romance and single motherhood at once
By Sophie Sills | Salon | August 2021
“Why do unmarried women have to choose between motherhood and a love life? Can’t we try for both at the same time?”

8. Wandering icebergs could trigger tsunamis
By Robby Berman | Big Think | August 2021
“Icebergs aren’t just a threat to unsinkable ships. Their ability to cause underwater landslides poses a danger to coastal cities.”

9. Hurricanes may not be becoming more frequent, but they’re still more dangerous
By Carolyn Gramling | Science News | July 2021
“There aren’t more of the storms now than there were roughly 150 years ago, a study suggests”

10. Moonstruck: Life in the In-Between
By Emily VanDerWerff | The Criterion Collection | November 2020
“Life is made up of binaries, sure, but it is also made up of all the spaces in between their oppositions.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Prudish Southwest Airlines / Wars over Nixon may be over / Voyager I leaving solar system / Is Garcia Marquez finished? / Stopping sperm

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Cover Your Cleavage for Takeoff: Southwest Airlines Screws Up Again
By Katie J.M. Baker | Jezebel | June 14
“On June 5th, Avital* was boarding a 6 AM flight from Las Vegas to New York in a comfy cotton dress, a loose open flannel shirt and a colorful scarf when she was told that her cleavage was ‘inappropriate.'”

2. Richard Nixed
By David Greenberg | The New Republic | June 8
“The extirpation of the old Nixonian propaganda came about because of an irony of history.”

3. Voyager I Is *This Close* to Leaving Our Solar System
By Rebecca J. Rosen | The Atlantic | June 13
“We’re on the cusp of one of the greatest scientific accomplishments of all time, but we may not know when the moment strikes. Or, rather, there may be no moment.”

4. Human Microbiome Project reveals largest microbial map
By Smitha Mundasad | BBC News | June 13
“[R]esearchers were able to find over 10,000 different types of organisms as part of the healthy human microbiome.”

5. Garcia Marquez: Will he ever write again?
By Laura Steiner | The Huffington Post | June 14
“Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, a fellow novelist and journalist, and a close friend of Gabo — as Garcia Marquez is fondly called — describes how the 85 year-old author and master of magical realism has trouble recognizing his closest friends.”

6. Stalin & Hitler: Mass Murder by Starvation
By Timothy Snyder | The New York Review of Books | June 21
“In the decade between 1932 and 1942 some eleven million people in the Soviet Union starved to death, first as a result of Soviet policy, then as a result of German policy.”

7. Stop our sperm, please
By Irin Carmon | Salon | June 14
“Meet the men who want better male birth control — and want it badly.”

8. Q&A: Filtering Friends on Facebook
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | June 14
“One of my colleagues places way too many updates on Facebook about his church fund-raisers, his kids’ play dates, his wife’s book. … How do I block the alerts, but not defriend him?”

9. 11 Wars That Lasted Way Longer Than They Should Have
By Kathy Benjamin | Mental Floss | June 11
“Thanks to lost paperwork, diplomatic technicalities, or just plain forgetting they had declared war in the first place, many countries remained in a state of war long after the actual fighting had stopped.”

10. Cassini Sees Tropical Lakes on Saturn Moon
Jet Propulsion Laboratory | June 13
“NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spied long-standing methane lakes, or puddles, in the ‘tropics’ of Saturn’s moon Titan. One of the tropical lakes appears to be about half the size of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, with a depth of at least 3 feet.”

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TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Darren J. — Panhandle Blues
2. Preacher Stone — Not Today
3. Austin Cunningham — Guns & Religion
4. Jeff Dale & the South Woodlawners — Third Rail
5. Pride & Joy Band — Evil Thoughts
6. Driving Wheel — Ain’t Guilty
7. Anna Popovic — Get Back Home to You
8. Anna Popovic — Putting Out the APB
9. Greg Danton — Twister Town
10. The Vaughan Brothers — Good Texan
11. Rico Enriquez — Red House
12. Paul Thorn — That’s All I Know Right Now
13. The Smokin’ Mojo Kings — Blues Gutter
14. Austin Cunningham — Last Great D.J.